Hearing loss associated with neonatal ECMO: A clinical investigation

Academic Article


  • To answer the question as to the prevalence of sensori-neural hearing loss (SNHL) among neonates receiving ECMO, a retrospective chart review was conducted on 198 infants having surgery between November 1987 and January 1995. One hundred fifty-seven (79.7%) survived. One hundred thirty infants met our criteria of having a pre-discharge auditory brainstem evoked response (ABR) test and at least one follow-up behavioral audiologic examination. Strict criteria were set for normal hearing on both the ABR and follow-up examinations. Only follow-up results are reported. At the time of the most recent follow-up examination, two children could not be adequately studied, 106 exhibited normal hearing, 21 (16%) exhibited either unilateral or bilateral conductive hearing loss and three (2.3%) exhibited unilateral or bilateral SNHL. Only one child is using amplification. With the largest sample size to date, we found a lower prevalence of SNHL after ECMO than has been previously noted in the literature. Although the prevalence of hearing loss is low, the post-ECMO group of infants must be considered at risk for hearing loss. The prevalence of hearing loss cannot be based solely on a pre- discharge ABR, i.e. ongoing follow-up testing is necessary.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sweitzer RS; Lowry JK; Georgeson KE; Nelson KG; Johnson SE
  • Start Page

  • 339
  • End Page

  • 345
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 3